Historical Tie Trends

Historical Tie Trends is a document that tracks tie installations by Class 1 RR’s from 1921 to the present. As the timeline progresses, readers will note the increasing complexity of the data reported. As of 2016, data may be impacted going forward since the Surface Transportation Board eliminated some Class 1 reporting requirements for the Annual R-1 reports. RTA will endeavor to provide as accurate an accounting as possible based on existing data sources. Historical Pricing Data may also be located in this section.

There are two separate approaches to the Historical Pricing Data for wood crossties. The first approach is comprised of four trends graphs. The National Graph is a blended trend line of the three Regions. These trend lines are composed of composite high-low data, graciously provided by the Hardwood Market Report, and do not necessarily reflect a specific price of a tie in the marketplace. Rather, this blended number is used to provide a look at trends but may, in fact, more closely resemble the price of the overall mix of products procured in the marketplace (tie pricing is different by size and species, so a blended number may be more reflective of reality, but is not guaranteed by RTA to represent specific tie prices). These National and Regional graphs are designed to illustrate trends occurring in the market place for green crossties as compared to Green 4/ 2A Red Oak lumber. In the past, Green 4/ 2A Red Oak lumber was thought to be a benchmark for tie pricing, however that correlation has changed over time.

The second approach, Nominal and Real Prices of Wood Products, is also a series of four graphs. These figures represent nominal historical pricing data vs. two different approaches to inflation adjusted (Real) data for the last 20 years, then compared with RTA member production, purchases and inventories for the same time period. These graphs should be self-explanatory and give business planners different representations of historic pricing trends, as well as illustrate the de-correlation of tie pricing with benchmark products used in the past. The raw data, once again, is provided to RTA compliments of the Hardwood Market Report, rescaled and adjusted for inflation by RTA's economist. All Historical Pricing Graphs are updated monthly.

Appalachian Region
Northern Region
Southern Region